Belarusians flee their low-paid jobs

As the Belarusian economy is more and more sluggish, many decide to quit their unprofitable jobs in state-owned businesses and emigrate to look for more sustainable sources of income. Hrodna district executive committee published a document with a recommendation on how state companies should tackle the problem.

The document was obtained by a Belarusian news website and published on Friday. It recommends “limiting the possibility of quitting a job based on a bilateral agreement”.

The instruction was sent out to all companies in the Hrodna district in order to deal with “labour force flight”. Using a soviet-style newspeak, the executive committee recommends to “conduct a strict monitoring of the labour migration and to take operative prophylactic steps in the field of preventing worsening situation of human resources subjected to companies”.

In plain language it means it will be more difficult now to break your work agreement, even if salary is so small it makes no sense for you to work. The serious problem that state companies are struggling with is a result of a drastic drop in real value of wages, brought by the devaluation of ruble. The average salary in Belarus, according to an official data, was 2 million 318 thousand rubles in October. In January it was worth 531 dollars, now – just 226 dollars.

Cutting the real salaries in half led to mass flight of employees. However, the recommended solution of limiting the option to break off work agreement seems to be violating most basic labour laws. Still, for those who are stubborn, there are still ways – should you stop coming to work, you can hope to get fired on disciplinary grounds.

The companies were given three weeks to test the recommended solutions and report to the authorities about their implementation. More information about these new means of controlling labour force in Belarus should be disclosed with the reports, on December 12th.

Michał Janczuk


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